Protect Your Plants
February 18th, 2021
When the forecast predicts overnight temperatures in the single digits, are your plants protected?
In the landscape
Mulch is key to insulate and protect vulnerable plants. In late fall/early winter, you should have put down two to four inches of mulch in beds, especially those with shallow-rooted plants and bulbs. This also helps retain soil moisture, which is especially important in our current dry conditions.
Plants in containers
In a deep freeze, container plants can freeze. Roots touching the edge of the container or close to it will be most susceptible to freeze damage. One thing you can do today is to wrap containers with a blanket or other insulating material to add protection.
Clay containers may crack
Pervious clay containers can absorb water, and when the water in the clay freezes, pots can crack. This can happen whether soil is in the container or not. If containers are outdoors, move them to a warmer, protected area if possible.
Do you keep your plants in a sunny window? With below-zero temps, windowsills can be very cold, especially if they are also drafty. Sun-loving plants such as cyclamen, Christmas cactus and amaryllis may suffer. Make sure leaves don't touch the window glass and pull plants back as far as you can. Consider relocating them temporarily until warmer weather returns.
Prevent plant loss
The best way to prevent freeze damage is to have plants that are up to the challenge of Colorado's often harsh climate. Pay attention to the plant hardiness zone and the microclimate where you live. Choose plants with elevation and exposure in mind. Consider drought-tolerant plants, especially natives or those developed for Colorado’s conditions. You’ll save water and also save money by not having to replace plants that can’t survive a hot, dry summer.
Plants that look the best in Colorado are the ones that were meant to live here or were developed to thrive in our conditions.